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My usual apologies for the absence of blogs recently. This has been due to trying to clear the decks in the run-up to Christmas, the odd festivity – and the fact my diary keeps changing due to the uncertainties around Covid regulations and the reactions to them as people try and work out what to do – such as scrabbling around trying to find Lateral Flow Test kits after Johnson dropped his latest bombshell on the NHS without any prior warning. To be honest, we’re lucky on the flow test front. Whilst I was up at COP26 in Glasgow kits were being given out on Glasgow Central station so I picked up several boxes to bring home. Try getting them now. Dawn tried online only to be told there’s not one available for 30 miles! Quiet how people are meant to do a daily test when there’s no bloody test kits available is a mystery known only to Johnson. Anyone would think he’s making this up as he goes along. I mean, only a complete idiot would announce such a policy without checking that there’s sufficient stocks of test kits available, wouldn’t they? Oh, wait…

In response to the news I’m seeing a number of things being cancelled. Thursday’s annual Railway Carols service in London was cancelled at the end of last week and postponed until 2022. This week I’ve had a dental appointment cancelled with just 48 hours notice. I know of many other people who’re seeing Xmas meals and parties cancelled at short notice – just what the hospitality industry needs right now. Now, I understand the need to stay safe, I really do – but this is turning into yet another omnishambles and there’s a lot of very unhappy people faced with making tough choices who’re looking at what’s coming out about Johnson and Co’s behavior this time last year and thinking ‘you’re having a laugh!’. Actually, what many people are saying is far more expletive-driven but I’d get banned from a lot of social media for articulating it verbatim and with the passion it deserves. It will be interesting to see how all this anger may manifest itself in Thursday’s by-election in the Tory safe-seat of North Shropshire. Maybe some of us will be getting an early Christmas present.

Maybe the new Covid variant will do us all in the UK a favour by finally dropping the scales from some people’s eyes so that they finally appreciate just what a bunch of incompetents and shysters have in Government at the moment, but I won’t be holding my breath. Instead, I’ll be trying to make the most of the festive season and hope 2022 will be the year we finally see the back of all this crap.

OK, sorry for the political rant but some times I’ve got to do a spot of spleen-venting. I’ve tried to be a good boy recently, despite everything that’s going on (and don’t even get me started on the Brexit shambles otherwise we’ll be here all night), but sometimes needs must.

Right, back to cuddly, fluffy things like the picture of the day. Today’s is another in the series of old slides I’ve been scanning which were taken in Bali in January 1995.

These brightly painted outrigger fishing boats are pulled up on the beach at Padangbai on the Eastern end of Bali. Padangbai’s the port for ferries across to the island of Lombok further East. Between them you cross the Wallace line. This is a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and named by English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley that separates the biogeographical realms of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia.

Behind the boats are a row of simple beachside restaurants where fresh fish straight from the boats would be sold freshly grilled or baked. You really can’t get much fresher than that!

I’ve a favour to ask…
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